Tuesday, September 30, 2008

University of Sleep

US colleges are becoming increasingly concerned about sleep deprivation among their students.

'Wellesley College spreads the message by throwing dorm pajama parties with tea and popcorn.'
Yeah....I'm sure that sends them directly to REM mode.

'Tufts University passes out sleep masks, ear plugs, and a CD of relaxation tracks.'
This is college not a nursing home.

'Bentley College holds a weeklong contest called the Biggest Snoozer, and gives away memory foam pillows and white noise machines to students who log the most hours of shut-eye.'
Look out Japan...here we come! We're coming after your jobs!

'And Massachusetts Institute of Technology has enlisted the help of far-flung parents, alerting them to watch for warning signs such as e-mails sent at 4 a.m.'
I have a feeling the future rocket scientists of the world can find some ways around that one.

Now....let's break it down for a second. Colleges are there to prepare the youth of our country for life after college (the real world). You do a lot of things in college that don't prepare you...but that's the ultimate purpose. You might get a nice cushy job in the real world, where you can roll into work at 10am, read blogs all day, take a 2 hour lunch break, and punch out at five. But, when we talk about preparing our youth to be the next leaders of our country...we're talking about a tall order. Do you think the leaders of our country get a solid 8 hours every night and a 20 minute nap every afternoon?

The real world is tough. Do doctors take a break during surgery because they are short on sleep? Does a criminal lawyer not pull an all nighter to prepare his cross examination? Does our military delay an attack for some shut eye? Is Congress taking naps instead of passing a rescue passage? (well...)

We are really getting soft around here. We don't keep score in youth sports. We require chaperones at high school football games . We encourage our college students to sleep more. If anybody should need less sleep it's college kids. If anybody should be pushed, it's college kids. And, now colleges are rewarding its students for laziness? Are you SERIOUS?

If this continues, a common exchange in classrooms around the country could sound like this...

Joe Student: 'Professor...I'm not prepared for discussion today. I was tired. And, I just needed 5 more hours to earn a free sub at Quiznos.'

Professor: That's OK Joe. Get em' next time.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Starbucks Cuts The Cheese

Starbucks announced that they will be replacing their breakfast sandwiches with new sandwiches made with a different cheese. The move was made because the old cheese was said to have overpowered the desired coffee aroma in Starbucks establishments.

In a related move, the state of Wisconsin is removing all Starbucks from within its borders.

Starbucks to introduce new breakfast sandwiches[Yahoo Business]

As always, we at The 360 try to keep you up to date of all the goings on at Starbucks.

Top 10 Reasons a Sox/Dodgers World Series Is a Lock

The champagne has been bicoastally poured. The Red Sox have a ticket to October, and so do the Dodgers. The baseball gods are combining forces and pushing these two teams on an impenetrable track to what would truly be a bizarro World Series.

Top 10 reasons why the Red Sox will play the Dodgers in the World Series

10. Torre and Francona...8 World Series appearances between them
9. Best hitter in baseball right now...Manny
8. Still Mr. Clutch...Big Papi
7. Derek Lowe has heard good things about private parties at the Liberty Hotel
6. If you drive from St. Louis to Denver to Los Angeles, it will take you exactly 24 hours. 24 was Manny's # in Boston. It's undeniable scientific proof.

5. Adam Ethier's shot to broaden his food blog with Boston cuisine.
4. The 20th anniversary of Gibson's HR
3. The X factor...Julio Lugo
2. It's what Boston teams do in the 21st century

and the #1 reason why the Red Sox will play the Dodgers in the World Series...

1. The Cubs Won't Win The Pennant...That's One Down

Who do you see advancing to the World Series?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

U.S.A. Back on Top, Take That Other Countries

Uncle Sam and a French Ninny

By Kodiak in Cambridge

The United States took back the Ryder Cup last weekend and I'm thrilled. Finally we have something to be proud of. It has been a tough run for good old America lately, so it's nice to see our golfers beat that smug Euro-trash. The quality of play was excellent and this years uniforms were much better than many we have seen in the past.

Half Beer Half Amazing

By Kodiak in Cambridge

Here's my favorite drink. It's known as the "Bismark" or "Black Velvet." I know it sounds strange, but it's heaven in a glass....

Fill a pint or Martini glass half full with champagne (the dryer the better, but doesn't have to be expensive). Then pour Guinness into a spoon so it slowly fills the glass, same principle as a black and tan. Drink contents then repeat 4-5 times, and enjoy. From my home bar to yours.

Dive of Death not that Deadly

David Blaine

By Kodiak in Cambridge

Mystifying magic man David Blaine disappointed the crowd in Central Park and the live television audience last night with a pathetic "trick." For those of you lucky enough to have not watched the two hour special, I'll recap what happened. First he hung upside down for sixty hours in New York City. Doctors said he could go blind or have permanent organ damage due to disruptions in his circulation. Well, he did it and he did not go blind, but he also got down every fifty minutes to walk around, hydrate and relieve himself. Wow. It's still impressive in a way, but come on. It's not a true stunt unless you end up without your vision and covered in piss.

Footage of his hanging was spliced with him doing card tricks and illusions involving bottle caps that he performed for folks on the streets of Harlem and Coney Island. Most were pretty cool and people rightly freaked out. All of this led up to his "Dive of Death." There was a countdown throughout the broadcast, and the announcer toted it as his most dangerous stunt ever attempted. Hmmm, OK. At the moment of truth, he leaped from a forty foot scaffold and was caught by wires attached to a harness he was wearing which then raised him into the air as the camera panned away, the announcer proclaiming that Blaine "disappeared into the atmosphere." If disappearing into the atmosphere means being hoisted off camera then that was the best illusion I've ever seen. Thanks for wasting my time, you sir, are no Amazing Randy.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hurley Leaves The Island...Celebrates at Fenway

Seen celebrating at Fenway Park last night....Hurley (aka Hugo) with Dustin Pedroia and a bottle of champagne.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Merkle's Boner

Today is the 100th anniversary of Merkle's Boner, a historic play in baseball history.

Flashback to Sept. 23rd, 1908...The NY (baseball) Giants are playing the Chicago Cubs at the Polo Grounds. Moose McCormick was the baserunner at 3rd base. 19-year old Fred Merkle stood at 1st. With the score tied 1-1, Al Bridwell singled home the winning run and the Giants fans rushed the field in celebration. There was only one problem. Merkle exited the field having never touched 2nd base. Cubs 2nd baseman Johnny Evers realized this, retrieved the ball, and touched 2nd base for the force out. The umpires acknowledged the out but it was too late to resume the game, because the crowd had already consumed the field. The game was declared a tie. (Note: There are varying stories about what transpired on the field amidst the confusion).

After two more weeks of regular season games, the Giants and Cubs ended the season in a deadlock for 1st place in the National League. They played a one-game playoff, which the Cubs won 4-2 and vaulted them to the World Series. It was the last time the Cubs won the World Series.

Merkle earned the nickname of "Bonehead" for this famous play. He did make it to the World Series five times over the course of his 16-year career, but never won.

The Giants appealed the game's decision to league president, Harry Pulliam, whose indecision in the matter resulted in serious criticism from the New York media. Sadly, he shot himself to death at the New York Athletic Club the following July.

What modern day sports gaffes could be compared to this Boner?

Actual 1908 article from the New York Times
Merkle's career stats

Grilling Excellence

With grilling season coming to a close in the northern latitudes, here's a great tip that you can take to the grill before retiring it for the winter...

After marinating your food in the fridge, let the food sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before dropping it on the grill. This will give the marinade a chance to release and settle, and will cook much more evenly. It's true!

More cooking tips from the 360.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday Night Lights Out at Lincoln-Sudbury

Lincoln-Sudbury students are being required to bring chaperones with them to their school's football games.

At the home football opener last friday night, the competition on the field took a backseat to what was happening in the crowd. A large number of students were drinking, six of whom were characterized as 'falling down.' Some had to be taken to the hospital.

The administration's reaction has been to enact a new policy. Students will now be required to bring a parent or guardian to the game with them. (blankies and teddy bears optional).

I couldn't think up a worse policy to deal with the issue of under-age drinking. The kids who want to drink will find stealthier (potentially more dangerous) ways to do it. And whether you drink or not, what high school student wants to go to a school football game with their parents?

It's rumored that potato sack races, an egg toss competition, and a giant game of Red Rover will take place before the game to attract larger crowds.

The 12th man will be much quieter tonight in Sudbury.

How do you think L-S should handle this?

L-S student drinking incident prompts crackdown[boston.com]

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ryan Adams Cardinology

By Kodiak in Cambridge

Hot off the presses, from across the pond, word has come in that Ryan Adams and the Cardinals' new album Cardinology will drop (that's insider speak for release date) on October 28th, 2008. Just in time for Halloween! Hopefully we can trust this source, otherwise my seasonal depression will be arriving early this year. However, it has to be true because it's from England and scientific studies have shown that they are smarter than us.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Have you seen the latest Obama ad? The latest McCain ad?

If you have, take note of where you saw it. It seems that it is increasingly unlikely you saw the ad during a commercial break.

According to the AP:

"Barack Obama's and John McCain's presidential campaigns are peddling campaign videos as advertising even though they are getting little commercial air time..."

There's a couple great quotes within reporter Jim Kuhnhenn's story from Evan Tracey (the head of a firm that tracks TV ads). Here's one:

"What you have now is that the campaigns say, 'Hey, (MSNBC's) Morning Joe is a food fight, let's supply the tomatoes."

I'm not entirely sure whether or not this is significant, but it is worth noting that a candidate gets more bang for their buck creating ads that cable news will run endlessly, even if a campaign never intends to buy advertising time... throw in youtube, and you wonder how many people it can reach for free.

As cable news stations continue to rely on commentators as ratings earners, to what extent does editorial control amount to free advertising? If Fox News runs a segment asking "Is this McCain ad fair?" and then concludes that the ad is fair, does it matter that the ad isn't appearing regularly on TV in any other forum? If MSNBC does the same with an Obama ad, does it trouble you more if the ad is discussed on their non-biased news coverage versus a program anchored by Keith Olberman? What if if the ad never ran during a commercial break of a regularly scheduled program?

Products get placed into movies all the time, so it is also worth noting exactly who has editorial power on cable news these days. Fox News has been accused of relaying partisan "talking points" to on-air talent or production staff... Michael Moore accused Sanjay Gupta of skewing the facts in a report on the documentary "Sicko" in order to appease the major sponsors of CNN's medical coverage. The selling of the news isn't exactly new, nor is using the news as entertainment (thanks Roone Alderidge), but to what extent do advertisers have control over what's on in between commercial breaks?

So, the next time you watch a campaign ad during a news program, perhaps it might be time to flick on over to a good old fashioned, honest, hardworking infomercial with American values.

They're Magically Delicious...AND Economical

Pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars, green clovers, and purple horseshoes. This could become the anthem of many consumers as they try to save in a rough economy.

General Mills reported better than expected earnings this week, and they are attributing it to people eating more meals at home. In CEO Ken Powell's opinion,

"Cereal is in a good spot for the current economy, because each serving only costs about 50¢, including milk."

This is not a good sign for restaurants who provide on-the-go breakfast options, particularly those with premium prices. Starbucks, for example, just launched a new healthy breakfast menu. A grande specialty drink and oatmeal could set you back $7.00. Yikes! It's better news for fast food dollar menus, frozen pizzas, and soups. Eating healthy is costly, isn't it?

While you're riding out this tough economy, my best advice could be...don't let the milk go sour.

Cereal Business Gives Boost To General Mills [AdAge]

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Problems in Bed? Big Papi To The Rescue

David Ortiz and his wife Tiffany are auctioning off their bed for charity. The bed is sure to make you perform in the clutch, and the headboard is signed by Big Papi.

Bidders might want to inspect the sheets for spit stains. The SportsCenter crew recommends it...

In other Red Sox news...

-The Sox are selling box seats at $795/pair. No...not the right to sit in the seats.....the actual seats. The team is planning a renovation of the main seating bowl over the winter and is selling the seats as collectors items.

-The Sox now hold the record for consecutive sellouts (the previous record was held by the Cleveland Indians at Jacobs Field).

-Oh...and some actual baseball news...Mike Lowell's health should be a concern. He's looking like he might have one good swing left in him. I'd rest him for the World Series.

Jeff Kent Day-to-Day After Head Injury

By Kodiak in Cambridge

Dodger talk is really heating up during the September pennant race. The eerie correlations with the Red Sox have been documented here at the 360, plus Pax Arcana viciously tore into the painful moron that is Andre Ethier.

Well Jeff Kent is hurt, and because he's such a nice guy I'm sure he'll be missed in the L.A. clubhouse. If you sorely miss his highlights on Baseball Tonight, are a fan of aging second basemen who hit for power, or you're a massive prick, you can catch up with him at his blog; pickup.trucks.and.baby.tears.org

Thanks for the memories and go f@#$ yourself.

Chili is for Lovers

By Kodiak in Cambridge

I thought I'd add to the delicious cornacopia of food related posts here on the 360. This recipe comes from my kitchen to yours with much love. Super easy, super good, feeds 6-10 people.

1 lb ground beef (or turkey)

2 Red Bell Peppers

1 yellow onion

2 garlic cloves

1 Tlbs garlic powder

2 12oz cans of dark red kidney beans

1 16oz can of diced tomato's

1 8-10oz can of tomato paste*

1/4 cup of brown sugar

1 packet of Ortega chili powder

*For thicker chili use two cans of tomato paste

Brown ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until no longer pink and drain, add chili powder and simmer for 10 minutes. Chop onion, garlic and peppers. Combine with canned ingredients, brown sugar and garlic powder in a large pot and simmer for 20 minutes. Add beef to the pot and let it all simmer for an hour or so. Throw some shredded cheese on it and serve over french bread....

Great for a football game with your buddies or a special dinner with your lady friend!


Monday, September 15, 2008

Hot Lixx Airs It Out For Guitar Title

Hot Lixx Hulahan became the first ever two-time US Air Guitar Champion, by defeating what some are calling the 'toughest field ever.' At the Grand Ballroom in San Francisco, Hot Lixx defeated the likes of Derek Not-So-Smalls and Bettie B. Goode, who lost one of her toes during the Brooklyn regionals.

Hulahan himself fought through injury (a broken thumb suffered from strumming an invisible instrument) to prevail. He sealed the victory by performing an unrehearsed segment of Ozzy Osbourne's 'Crazy Train.'

Congrats to another U.S. Champion. The 360 salutes you.

Air guitarist goes crazy to win US championship [spinner.com]

Two thirds of a pun...

Some wordplay from Gina Serpe of eonline.com: http://www.eonline.com/uberblog/b28995_pink_floyd_rocker_wright_passes_on.html.

Clever Gina... Very clever. Did you catch the subtle reference to one of PF's most popular songs? If you missed it:

"Fans were rendered uncomfortably numb this morning as word spread of Wright's death this morning at his London home. He was 65."

Still don't see it? Let's try it again:

"Fans were rendered uncomfortably numb this morning as word spread of Wright's death this morning at his London home. He was 65."

HA! I bet you missed the first time! I sure did!

Even the Wright family spokesperson got in on the fun:

"The family have asked that their privacy is respected at this difficult time."


In more serious news, Gina also tells us that David Cook will be BURNING UP THE CHARTS in no time:

Wow... That album sounds like it's gonna be rock-tastic. God works in mysterious ways doesn't He Gina? He takes away one rock legend and replaces him with another... David Cook.

Dodgers/Sox Would Make For A Bizarro Series

Game Seven of the World Series, Fenway Park. 12th Inning.
4-3 Dodgers.
This could happen.

Joe Torre yawns and strolls to the mound to make a pitching change. Derek Lowe emerges from the bullpen and struts across a frosty Fenway outfield, engulfed by chants of “Derek, Derek, Derek.”

Joe Buck comments, “Though Lowe has been inconsistent in September, he has risen to the occasion in this postseason. They say his sinker is sometimes most effective when he is fatigued.”

Bill Mueller, Dodgers special assistant to the GM, sits behind the Dodger dugout next to his special guest (Dave Roberts).

Manny Ramirez, having hit a go-ahead homerun off Manny Delcarmen in the top half of the inning, lurks in the leftfield corner like he never left.

Nomar Garciaparra nervously yanks at the lacing on his glove at 1st base, and prepares himself to squeeze the game-winning out.

As Lowe throws his warm-up tosses, the Fenway crowd is serenaded by Low Rider.

“All my friends know the low rider. The low rider is a little higher. Low rider don't use no gas now. Low rider don't drive too fast.”

You could almost see a small grin creep across Dr. Charles Steinberg’s (now Dodger Chief Marketing Officer) face, knowing he would have lined up a similar selection for such an occasion.

The Sox are down to their last out. Kevin Youkilis is at 3rd base, breathing heavily and sweating profusely. Coco Crisp (having pinch run for former Dodger J.D. Drew) takes his lead off 2nd. Jason Bay digs in at the plate. Buck and McCarver mention the Ramirez/Bay trade for the 151st time. And, the Fenway crowd stands as one (cheering with fervor and fear).

Two clubhouses are wrapped in plastic and stocked with champagne, Bud Light, and goggles. The Red Sox bullpen’s instruments are frozen to their hands. Players on both sides stand across the top steps of their dugouts. Lowe toes the rubber…. and delivers. Crack…

This could really happen.

The Dodgers hold a 4-game lead over the Diamondbacks in the NL West, and are as good a bet as any in the National League, having won 13 of their last 14 games (remember the Rockies of 2007). The Sox lead in the wild card is even safer (5 games in the loss column), and they have the make-up for a deep run in the playoffs.

Red Sox/Cubs…Red Sox/Mets…neither holds a torch to what would be the perfect storm of baseball match-ups. It will be a long overdue return to Fenway for Nomar and D-Lowe. What will their reception be in the context of a World Series? It will be an uncomfortable reunion with Manny—think seeing a girlfriend too soon after she broke up with you. You still have feelings for her but you want her to be miserable.

Ramirez vs. Bay. Francona vs. Torre. LA’s chance for redemption after the NBA Finals.

This could really happen.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Take It To The House

House star Hugh Laurie just signed a new deal with Fox that will pay him $400,000/episode (~$9M for the season). It has been a nice run for Laurie, considering he was only paid 'mid 5 figures' for the first season of Fox's hit show.

It got me thinking about today's highest paid TV stars. I did some digging and the answer I got was a bit shocking to me-- Charlie Sheen ($825,000/episode for Two and a Half Men). William Peterson of CSI was 2nd at $600,000/episode. If Lauren Conrad were on the list, I would have cancelled my cable subscription.

Now...these are stats on a per episode basis. Oprah and Simon Cowell, for example, are paid on a seasonal basis and get a lot more. But, it's also interesting to note that the stars of Seinfeld, Friends, and Everybody Loves Raymond were paid more per episode when those shows were peaking. Reality TV rules these days.

Back to House...the show is entering its 5th season and seems to be pretty healthy. We checked with our friends at jumptheshark.com and things seem to be going well over at Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. 7500 viewers are saying it never jumped. And, it was the 2nd highest rated scripted series last season (trailing only Desperate Housewives).

I love the Gregory House character, and the witty scripts. But, the plot formula needs a bit more variety to keep me coming back for more. An ailment is misdiagnosed several times. Incorrect treatments cause a patient's condition to get increasingly worse until House miraculously saves the day at the end of the episode with the correct diagnosis, and while insulting everyone in his path. Can you mix in some curveballs, please?

Where does House rank on your watch list for the upcoming TV season?

"House" star Hugh Laurie Joins TV's Richest List [Yahoo TV]

This Just In...New Yorkers are Unfriendly and Neurotic

According to a 6-year study conducted by Cambridge University, New Yorkers are the most unfriendly and neurotic people in America. The study examined a number of different personality traits, but could not say that New Yorkers have a predisposition for any positive traits.

'Nice' Americans, who share an agreeableness trait (warm, compassionate, cooperative, friendly), are most likely to live in states like North Dakota, North Carolina, and Utah.

Massachusetts was one of the highest scoring states for the 'openness' trait, which is characterized by curiosity, intellect, and creativity.

New Yorkers Are Neurotic and Unfriendly, Says Cambridge U. 'personality map' [Telegraph]

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wendy's Gets Viral with Crazy Lettuce

Wendy's is getting into the game of viral marketing. Historically a company that appeals to an older demographic, Wendy's is looking to YouTube and MySpace for a lift. The video features a "crazy lettuce" that devours meat, and is targeting serious meat eaters that Wendy's refers to as 'meatatarians.' See for yourself...

There is no formula for creating a video that will catch fire among online communities. Some say that it needs to have some 'shock' value. Consumers' skepticism of big business makes it even more challenging for companies to succeed with viral marketing campaigns. That's not to say it's impossible.

In the end, it comes down to the question...does the video inspire you to share with others?

Personally, the Wendy's video doesn't make me want to email my friends. What do you think of 'Crazy Lettuce?'

Wendy's Takes First Stab At Viral Video With 'Crazy Lettuce' [AdAge]

Topsy Turvy That S%*t

For apparantly no reason at all, two Polish designers built an upside-down house in Germany. The house, on the northern German island of Usedom, was opened for public viewing this week.

One of the designers, Sebastian Mikiciuk, explained the inspiration for the project:

"We didn't do it for a reason. We just wanted to do something different."

Now, that's the transformational thinking that will change our world. It sounds like the Poles are taking a page out of Jason and Rachael Storm's book of randomness.

The upside down house is currently being used as an exhibit, but it has great potential as a holding cell for prisoners, or simply for people who need a timeout. The disorientation one feels in the house is a true form of torture and rehabilitation. On my list for the first class of inmates...

Jeremy Schapp
Gilbert Gottfried
Kathy Griffin
Jose Canseco
Spencer Pratt

Who would you lock up in the upside down house?

Upside-down house opens doors in Germany [Yahoo News]

Ryan Adams Rocks Boston

By Kodiak in Cambridge, Original Halloween Head and Cardinal Wanna-be

On Sunday September 7th I was lucky enough to attend the Ryan Adams and the Cardinals concert at the Bank of America Pavilion, formerly Harbor Lights, with Mrs. Kodiak, my pops and my buddy Uncle Randy. I was also a stone's throw away from Mr and Mrs. Pax Arcana.

Please be forewarned that I am not a critic because I can't really criticize Ryan and company. I am an unabashed supporter. That said I thought the show was unbelievable and the critics seem to agree. The Cards played for two and half hours ended by the venue's 11pm curfew. They rocked a mix of old jams along with five new songs, Fix it, Cobwebs, Sinking Ship, Magick and The Color of Pain, two that were played for the first time (Sinking Ship, The Color of Pain).

Ryan sounded great vocally, and was in good spirits (he has gained a reputation for being moody from time to time during live performances, but I think that's been overblown). If you missed the show or were there and want to relive it here's a link to the entire concert for free. Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Zest Will Change Your Life

It's time again for the 360 to get our cooking on. Based on a scientific survey among 360 fans, we have three conclusions to share:

1. 70% of 360 readers don't know what zest is.
2. 80% of 360 readers don't have a zester.
3. 90% of 360 readers ignore zest.

What is zest?
Zest is the outermost portion of the peel of limes, lemons, oranges and other citrus fruits. You'll find it in many recipes, and don't ignore it! The zest contains magic oils that will infuse your dish with major bursts of flavor.

Peel the zest off with something that looks like this (it's called a zester):

And, the most important thing about zesting is to not peel beneath the outer layer. The white layer underneath the zest is known as the pith, and it's very bitter. You won't find pith in many recipes (unless they were given to you by your enemies).

Tell me the next time you use zest. The magic oils will change your life.

more cooking tips from the 360

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Kyle Glanville Pours It On At Barista Nationals

It's time to announce another U.S. Champion. This time the 360 would like to congratulate Kyle Glanville of Los Angeles, CA. Kyle won the 2008 United States Barista Championship.

Competitors prepared and presented 12 coffee beverages - one espresso, one cappuccino, and one signature drink of their own creation, for four 'sensory' judges. Glanville built momentum from the beginning with his disco/hip hop soundtrack, and put the nail in the coffin when he did a stylistic foam pour in a heart design on the surface of each cappuccino. Boo yah!

In addition to being Manager of Espresso R&D at Intelligentsia's Roasting Works, Glanville also has a degree in theater (a useful skill in competition). The more I learn about Glanville, the more I realize this competition was over before it began. This could be a dynasty in the making.

The '08 US Barista Champion is Kyle Glanville![thecoffeebrewers.com]

SportsCenter.com Long Overdue

After over 30,000 episodes, ESPN has launched a website dedicated to SportsCenter.

It's crazy to think about a sports world without ESPN. The network revolutionized the way sports are reported, and the way we talk about sports. "Web gems" have become part of the American sports lexicon. And, catch phrases used by the shows' anchors are as well known as some major sporting events:

Kenny Mayne's "Yahtzee"
Chris Berman's "Back, back, back, back..."
Stuart Scott's "Boo yah"
Keith Olberman's "He pulled a groin. His own we hope." (ok...maybe not this one)

The website features video clips of current sports news, anchor blogs, live chats, and a home video contest (submit a sports play/moment that you have captured on video and it could be featured on a future SportsCenter). And not to be overlooked is a video library of "This is SportsCenter" commercials--the hilarious ad campaign that originated in 1994 and still runs today.

What does SportsCenter mean to you? Which commercial is your favorite?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Anything is Possible for Patriots' New QB1

Will the Patriots make the playoffs? For the first time in several years, my answer to this question is...'It will be interesting.' With Tom Brady likely out for the season with an ACL tear, the Pats can win 6 games. They could win 13 games.

Of course I wasn't rooting for Tom Brady to get injured. But now that we're here, it's exciting. We get to find out how good Belichik's system really is. Will Randy Moss drop into cruise control? Will we see Doug Flutie, Vinny Testaverde, or Matt Saracen in a Patriots uniform before season's end?

Though they may be afraid to admit it, I think that many Pats fans are thinking the same way. Maybe in a time when Boston teams didn't win championships every year, we'd be wallowing in our own misery (ok...we definitely would be). But let's get real...times have changed. Boston fans are playing with house money. 3 Super Bowls, 2 World Series rings, and an NBA title. Let's see if they can pull off a miracle with a 2nd string quarterback. Every week is an adventure. And as Kevin Garnett put it, "Anything is possible."

I recall it was pretty exciting when TB did it in 2001.

That's What She Said

Apollonia Castitlione from Queens grew a 6-foot long zucchini in her backyard, two feet short of the world record but 1 foot taller than herself.

She had lots to say to the media in her 5 minutes of fame:

"I went to look at it one day and was like, 'It's a little long,' then a few days later, I said, 'Oh, my God, what's this?'

"I've had my vegetable garden for 26 years, but I never saw anything so spectacular."

"I decided I wasn't going to touch it and just let it grow."

"It's so straight, it's so perfect. Usually, some are really crooked."

Woman in shock over giant zucchini[New York Daily News]

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Starbucks Is Giving Away Free Coffee

Starbucks has been all over the headlines recently. First....they announced a new premium brewing device called The Clover, that will brew you one cup at a time. Then, they debuted a new healthy breakfast menu. And...now more news from the coffee giant. In the month of September, Starbucks is giving away free Tall coffees to K-12 teachers every Monday.

I love the idea of giving away free cups of coffee. If I owned a coffee shop, I'd be handing out cups of coffee left and right. How much do they cost Starbucks? 10 cents/cup? When anything is free, it catches consumers' attention but they are wary of a scheme. (You're offering me a free trip to the Bahamas, but what do I have to do to get it?) When coffee is free, it catches consumers attention and they believe it. But I ask you King Starbucks, why teachers?

Don't get me wrong....I love teachers. But, couldn't you be a little bit more creative with your promotions? Once upon a time, Starbucks was a trendy place to go for coffee and conversation. You do own a record label, don't you? How about free coffee days for Miles Davis fans, Beck fans, Norah Jones fans, etc.? Prove it with your iPod.

If you were Starbucks, to whom would you offer a free cup?

Starbucks Ideas in Action

Friday, September 5, 2008

LPGA Takes A Mulligan

Today, the LPGA repealed its policy that would have required its golfers to speak English.

LPGA tour commissioner, Carolyn Bivens, said,

"After hearing the concerns, we believe there are other ways to achieve our shared objective of supporting and enhancing the business opportunities for every tour player."

Translation--The LPGA's sponsors didn't like it. Apparantly, the LPGA also felt pressure from a California Senator. ESPN.com reported,

"State Sen. Leland Yee, a Democrat from San Francisco, had asked the Legislature's legal office to determine whether the English policy violated state or federal anti-discrimination laws. If it was deemed legal, Yee said he would have pushed for legislation banning such policies in California."

You don't want to piss off government in a state where your tour holds 3 events.

This strategy has completely backfired for the LPGA. And, for what? Apparantly only 5-7 Korean golfers did not possess the English proficiency the LPGA was striving for. While they try to salvage relationships with sponsors, they will also have to find a new marketing strategy. Any ideas? Meet tour professional Natalie Gulbis...

LPGA won't suspend players over English-speaking requirement [ESPN.com]

Amalie Benjamin...Your Job May Be Safe

In the past couple of months, Boston journalists from traditional media have been jumping on the new media train and riding it to the interweb.

Rob Bradford (formerly of The Boston Herald) to WEEI.com
Mike Felger (formerly of ESPN radio & The Herald) to WEEI.com
Gordon Edes (formerly of The Boston Globe) to Yahoo.com
Tony Massarotti (formerly of The Boston Herald) to Boston.com

It begs the question...what will be the fate of their print media counterparts? With the media landscape changing rapidly, newspapers could become the triple A feeding ground for major web properties. Or, is the blogosphere the feeding ground?

Of course papers like the Boston Herald and Boston Globe have websites that are affiliated with the papers. But, the recent migration indicates that they may not be focusing enough on their digital business.

Amalie...if you'd like to write for the 360, we're accepting resumes.

Fantasy Football-Is This Goodbye?

It's that time of year again. Reserve your Sunday afternoons (and evenings and nights and Monday nights). It's NFL season, baby! Ever since fantasy football hit the web, I have been all about it. I love it for all the same reasons you do...it makes me care about the out-of-market games, a chance to talk trash with my friends, and ultimate bragging rights (and some cash) if I can win. My 2006 League Champion bobblehead doll (compliments of Yahoo Sports) sits on my nightstand next to my mouthguard and a bottle of TUMS.

For some reason, I have not been able to motivate myself to get involved this year. The invites appear at the top of my email inbox and drop notch by notch until I can't see them anymore. I should have seen this coming. Last year, I neglected to keep my line-up fresh every week. Bye weeks and injuries ate me up. The drive within me is gone my friends. And if we know one thing you need to win a fantasy football league...it's heart.

I wish you the best of luck in your fantasy endeavors in 2008, but I will not be with you. I'm feeling great remorse. Is this how Valerie Harper felt when she didn't return to The Hogan Family? Is counseling available?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Back to the Future '90210'

This week, the highly anticipated premiere of 90210 aired on the CW. The teen melodrama is a modern take on the tremendously popular 1990s hit show--Beverly Hills 90210. There are some carryovers from the older counterpart. Kelly Taylor (Jennie Garth) is the school guidance counselor. Her sister is a student at the school. Nat runs a more hip-looking Peach Pit. And Brenda (Shannen Doherty) pays a visit to her old friend, Kelly.

As you could guess, the new version is not as wholesome as its predecessor. Flashback 18 years--Brandon and Steve are coaching a little league baseball team and teaching the kids and audience about sportsmanship.

Flash forward--the new kids of 90210 are flying private jets, getting hummers in their Hummers, and publicly backstabbing their friends on their BLOGS. Throw in some time tested teen issues of plagiarism, pranks, and drug use and you have 90210 in 2008. The old 90210 would take a season to broach these subjects. In today's 90210, it's all given to us in the first week of school. Think Boston Public meets The OC. Well....that may be a little bit generous at this point. But despite criticism throughout the blogosphere, I'm giving this one a shot (at least for now).

What do you think about the new 90210? Has it already jumped the shark?